This is just my initial impressions of my Dell Mini 1012 that I just got today. First things first, it was a refurb from the Dell Outlet that I got at a decent sale, and I'll have to say well worth a lot more than I paid for it (less than $220). It came with the stock 1GB RAM, but added the Crystal HD Decoder, and came in Obsidian Black. The Obsidian Black threw me for a loop a bit because it's actually black lid and keyboard and trim, with a white bottom shell. That's ok, looks pretty sleek.
While the stock machine is pretty nice I planned on a few upgrades. I instantly swapped out the 250GB Hard Drive (which was a Samsung by the way) with a Corsair Nova 32GB SSD
. I don't plan on using it for storing much data or installing many programs, so 32GB is more than adequate. I also have a 2GB DDR2 RAM module on the way to update to as well.
Thanks to YouTube, accessing the hard drive and RAM module was quick and easy. Plus I have a Windows 7 Home Premium key so would rather use that instead of live with the restrictions of Starter.
I am impressed with the overall build quality of the machine. I do like the keyboard and the size and spacing and travel of the keys. However, it is noticeably warped in three spots which I quickly learned was at the attachment points to the three screws that secure it to the body. I plan on finding or making a few washers to help stand it up a bit more at those points to make the warping a little less. So far though typing hasn't been too bad.
Who ever came up with the idea of a 1024x600 screen should be shot! One of the primary things I was looking for was a machine with a 1366x768 screen, and this Mini 1012 delivers just that. 1024x600 is just to small to work with and if you have any legacy apps that require 1024x768 screen they just won't run. Not to mention web pages look so much more normal at this resolution. The screen itself is beautiful. So much better than the screen in my Alienware M11x even.
I haven't even plugged in my machine to charge it yet. Just turned it on once I got it to make sure it worked, powered down, swapped the HDD with SSD
and have been installing Windows updates and all my apps entirely on battery. I'm going on over five hours now and still have nearly two hours left. SSD
's make such a big difference in battery life, I love it.
The trackpad is actually ok. I was expecting worse based on user reviews. I don't care much for the buttons, but they're liveable.
One thing that shocked me was the lack of a fan. Seems the Atom and NM10 chipset run rather cool without one. That is awesome. With an SSD
, this thing is completely SILENT! To be honest I'm fine with a little noise but in small machines it's not as much the noise as the vibation. The hard drives can make my hand fall asleep during typing sessions (not that long, like five minutes or so).
Aside from the basic apps like IrfanView, 7-zip, ccleaner, glary utilities, Microsoft Office, etc I plan on installing a couple older games too like Warcraft III. Am amazed at how technology has progressed that you can play games on a tiny handheld computer that required decent specs before.
That's it for now. Thanks Dell. I may follow up with a full review later or thoughts after using it a week or two more.